Wintertime is exotic season: During the pre-Christmas period, pineapples, mangos, lychees and the like are in high demand and are handled in large quantities. However, the current increase in inflation and the associated reduction in purchasing power are having a noticeable effect on the business with fancy air-freighted fruit, as the purchasing and sales department of Josef Stapf Großmarkt Ltd informs us.
The situation is aggravated by the unchanged high freight rates, especially in the air-freight sector. Abdulaziz Maras, exotics specialist at the Frankfurt-based wholesale company, outlines the situation using air-freighted mangoes as an example. "Two-three years ago, air-freighted mangoes were selling at around 30 euros per 6-kg colli, but now you have to add up to 10 euros on top. There is still demand for these mangoes, but for more unusual items, such as grenadillas or figs from Peru or Brazil, demand is far below average." Currently, the Josef Stapf Company is marketing Peruvian Kent mangoes in 11/12/13 calibers. "We hope that in the coming weeks, the popular market calibers of 9s and 10s will also hit the market in greater numbers."
Lychees and cherries
In the case of lychees, also a big seller in December, the company is eagerly awaiting the first air-freighted merchandise. Maras: "We are still distributing ship goods from Mauritius, but in the course of week 49 we expect the first air-freighted goods from Reunion Island, which will be marketed under the established Philibon label. In previous years we could also observe a considerable increase in demand as soon as the first Philibon merchandise became available. Whether that will also be the case this year, however, remains to be seen."
Cherries from overseas are traditionally well received during the Christmas holidays as well, Maras knows. "Currently, we source our cherries from both Chile and South Africa. Then, just before Christmas, there are usually the first arrivals from Canada and Tasmania. However, due to the high procurement costs and the tendency for the season to be extended in the aforementioned countries of origin, I don't rule out the possibility that Canadian and Tasmanian cherries will be dispensed with to some extent."
Air-freighted pineapple tends to lose importance
According to Maras, there have been some changes in the exotics business over the past few years. Avocados have now become a year-round item, while certain items, most notably air-freighted pineapples, have lost market share. "We still offer these pineapples 12 months a year, but nevertheless, for cost reasons as well as due to the increase in quality, goods brought in by boat have become more attractive. Nevertheless, about two weeks before Christmas, we usually observe a considerable increase in demand for air-freighted pineapples."
Air-freighted pineapples and mangoes
Tense atmosphere at the fresh produce center
Similar to many other wholesale markets in Germany, the mood in Frankfurt is rather somber, Maras continues. "During Corona, there was an overall resurgence within the wholesale market, which is now turning around. This is also reflected in the purchase volume per buyer, especially for higher-priced products. In that respect, the trend is shifting downward."
For more information:
Josef Stapf Großmarkt GmbH
Tel.: +49 (0)69 400502200